I am loving being in Numbers…it is such a joy to read and recall these truths, I can’t wait to do the chrono read again next year!
I’ve been reviewing the story of Korah’s rebellion found in Numbers 16. Korah is from the sons of Levi – the Levites…they were responsible for the affairs of the temple, keep guard over it, and minister there, take care of the furnishings, etc. (see Num 3) The Levites were set apart by God to do this, but they were not the priests – Moses and Aaron are the priests – they make the sacrifices and atone for the people, mediate between them and God, they go into the Holy Place. Korah seems to pick today to take beef with this. Here are some bullets to hit the high points of the story…
- Korah leads a small rebellion against Moses and Aaron basically because he thinks everyone is holy in the congregation and the LORD is among them – what makes you guys think you are so special that only you get to be the priests? (v3)
- Moses reminds Korah that this isn’t his idea…it’s Gods (v9-11), so Korah isn’t starting a beef with him…he is actually rebelling against God…not a good thing
- Moses says to Korah and his peeps – “OK, fine…you offer your incense tomorrow and we’ll see how that goes.” (v16-19)
- God is angry…he says to Moses and Aaron (again)…”Get away from the people, because I’m going to consume them all.” (v21
- Moses and Aaron again make intercession for the people to beg God not to (v22)
- God relents (v24)
- The Earth literally opens up and swallows Korah, his peeps, and fire came down and consumed the 250 incense bearers (v31-35)
- The Lord reminds the people that no one comes near to God except the priests – he takes the incense censors and has Eleazar make plates as covering for the altar to remind the people of this…(v36-41)
- The next day MORE people complain to Moses and Aaron about the fact that Korah and his peeps have been swallowed up (v41)
- God again tells Moses and Aaron to get away because he is going to really consume them all this time (v45)
- Again, Moses and Aaron mediate between the people and God, make atonement for them, and satisfy the wrath of God (v44-46)
- But…due to their rebellion a plague has now broken out among the people and they are rapidly dying…(v47)
- Aaron takes his censor and runs into the midst of the people and stands in between the living and the dead and makes atonement for them (v47-48)
You see…this is why I love the OT. Not only do we have constant reminders of the awesome holiness and terror of the almighty God – that our nice churchy western Christianity has all but washed away, (sorry did I say that out loud?) – we see wonderful themes of redemption in the OT – all pointing towards the ultimate redemption thru Christ Jesus.
- We see God listening to Moses and Aaron and time after time, sparing his people from his wrath – foreshadowing the ultimate satisfaction of his wrath for our sin thru Jesus
- We see Aaron literally standing between the living and the dead and making atonement for them. Who else will do that? JESUS.
Christ will come and literally die. He will literally be buried for 3 days – he will thus stand between the dead and the living and he will then be raised again on the 3rd day – (this is getting me excited for Easter!) – thus proving that God accepted his sacrifice and sin has been atoned for – just like Moses and Aaron did, EXCEPT that you see here and other places in scripture how many times they had to keep atoning…the difference is that Christ did it once and it was done. BUT, your faith must be in Christ and his work for this – you must actually believe that Christ took your sin and paid the price to God for them – then when God looks at you he sees Christ’s righteousness, not your sin…if you don’t believe – he tragically will still see your sin and also tragically his wrath will still be there…John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has (RUEL: as in NOW, already has it) eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him